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any so far bewitched and inchanted into who pretended to the greatest Confidence, so gross and impudent a Delufion, as to Clearness and Innocency. My Beloved, aflere his own Perfection and Vacancy let us establish this as an intallible Rule, from Sin, and Freedom from Obligation to discern the Spirits by, and to know to any divine Command; (as this Time what Religion is, if it tend to glorifie is fruitful of such Monsters) yet I dare God, and abase Man, to make him more be bold to say, that in the secret and quiet humble, as well as holy; if it give the true Reflections on themselves, they find that and perfect Discovery of God to Man, which they will not confess : Inwardly and of Man to himself, ibat is true Rei they feel what outwardly they deny, and ligion and undefiled: But away with cannot but some Time or other be filled these sublime Speculations, these winged with Horror and Anguilh in their Con- and airy Mysteries, those Pretensions to sciences, by that inwardly witnessing and high Discoveries and new Lights, if they checking Principle, when God Ihall give do not increase that good old Light of it Liberty to exerce its, Power over them. bumble walking with tby God, &c. if The End of such will be, as of profeffed hey tend to the lofing of the Obligation Atheists; they pretend the secureft Con- of divine Commands off thee ; if they
tempt, and fearlesseft Mifregard of God; ravish Man so high, that he feeth not .but then, when he awakes to Judgment, himself any more to be a poor miferable or declares himfelf in fome Thing extra and darkned Creature, certainly, that is no ordinary, they are fubject to the most Fellowship with the pure Light, which panick Fears and Terrors, becaufe then is not continually the Discovery and furThere is a Party armed within againft ther Manifeftation of more Sin and Dark. them, which they had difarmed in Secu- nefs in us : For, what is a Man's Light rity, and kept in Chains : So, whenfoever in the dark Night of this Life? but the such Men, of such high Pretentions, and cleareft Light of that Darkness that is in fublime Professions, who love to speak Man; and his Holiness, What is it? but nothing but Mysteries, and presume to the abhoring of himself for that. lo is such glorious Discoveries of new Lights true, fomething further is attained than of fpiritual Myfteries ; when there, I say, the knowing of this, but it is always so have Aattered themselves for a Season, far short of that original Pattern, that the in the monftruous exorbitant Conceit of best Way of expressing our Conformity their own Perfection, and Immunity from to it, is by how much we apprebend our Sin, and, it may be, deceived some Distance and Deformity from it. others too ; when they have lived some But, my Beloved, this is not all that Time in this golden Dream of Innocency; | is here meant, nor must we take it so the Time will come, either when the grofly, as if this did only check the open mighty Hand of God is on them here, or Professors of a Ginless, fpotlels Sanctity; when they must enter Eternity, that they nay certainly, there is another Way of thall awake, and find all their Iniquities saying this, than by the Tongue, and many in Battle array, muftered by the Lord of other ways of self-deceiving, than that Hosts, in their Conscience againft them gross one, many more universal and more selyes ; and then they shall be the rareft dangerous, because less discernable. There Examples of Fear, Terror and Unbelief, is something of this, that even true Be
lievers may fall into, and there is some have attained any Fervency of Defires, thing of it more common to the Gène and Height of Design after Holiness, and rality of professed Chriftians.
walking with God, and this is seconded Among Believers in Christ, there is with any lively Endeavours, and this conmuch Difference in self-judging; extreme firmed and strengthned with these PreContrarieties, both between diverse Pero sences of God, and Accesses into the Soul, sons, apd in one and the same, at diverse that fills it with some Sweetness ; then, Times. You know that some are kept I say, they are ready to apprehend too in the open View of their own Sins and highly of themselves, as if they had atInfirmities, and while they aim at Holi- cained, and to look below upon others ness, they are wholly disabled to that wor- with some Disdain ; then there is not thy Endeavour, by their Discouragements, that present Discovery of themselves, that arising from the Apprehension of their may intermingle humble Mourning with own Weakness, and infinite Shortcom. it, but a Kind of unequal measuring cheir ing. Now to elevate and strengthen | Attainments by their Delires, which in such Spirits, shat. Word was seasonably all true Christians are exceedingly mouncaft in, And tbe Blood of Jesus Cbrift fted above themselves. Now indeed, cleansetb from all Sin: For it properly this is in Effect, and really to say, we belongs to the Comfort of such fainting bave no Sin. Herein is a Delusion, a Souls; and it is all one, as if he had said, self-deceiving Fancy, that begets too much Up, and be doing, and the Blood of Cbrift self-pleasing. Let us know where our shall cleanse your evil Doings. He go- Stance is, infinitely below either our eth not about to perswade chem to have Duty, or our Desire ; and re-mind this better Thoughts of themselves, or lower ofien, that we may not be in Hazard to Apprehensions of their Sins, but 'only to be drunk with Self-love, and Self-deceit have higher and more suitable Thoughts in this Par icular. · Besides, are there not of Christ, and the Virtue of his Blood ; | many Christians, that having been once And this is the only Cure, not to abate illuminated, and had some serious Exerfrom that low Efteem of ourselves, but cises in their Souls, both of Sorrow for to add to the Eteem, and grow in the Sin, and Fear' of Wrath, and Comfort lively Apprehension of Cbrift. would by the Gospel ; and being accustomed to not counsel you to think yourselves bet. fome Discharge of religious Duties in ter, but to think better of him, that all private and publick, they fit down here, your Confidence may arise from him. and hath not mind of further Progress ;
Now there are others, and it may be they thick if they keep that Stance they that same Person at another Time, (for are well, and so have few Designs or the Wind of Temptation winds about, Endeavours after more Communion with ? and is sometimes in one Corner, some God, or Purification from Sin. · Now times in another; our Adversary ureth this makes them degenerate to Formalimany Stratagems, and will seem to flee ty, they wither and become barren, and before us, in yielding us the Victory o- are exposed by this to many Temptations ver our Unbelief, that he may in his which overcome them. But, my Be• Flight return, and throw fome other loved, is not this really and indeed to say, Dart upon us unawares,) when they we bave no Sin? Do not your walking,
and the Posture of your Spirits import than your own ordinary Clearings and fo much, as if you bad no Sin to wreftle | Excusings of yourselves; ye confefs ye with, no more Holiness to aspire unto, are Sinners, and break all the Commands; as it ye had no further Race to run to yet come to Particulars, and I know not obtain the Crown. Do not deceive your one of twenty that will cordially or serifelves, by thinking it sufficient to have fo Outly take with almost any Sin; yea, much Honesty and Grace, as in your what you have granted in a General
, you Opinion may put you over the black Line retract and deny it in all the Particulars ; in Ir-regeneration, as if ye would seek which declares both thar, even that which no more than is precisely necessary for you seem to know, you are altogether Salvation ? Truly, if ye be so minded, Strangers to the real Truth of it, and that you give a miserable Hint, that you are you are over-blinded with a fond Love not yet translated from the black side of of yourselves. I know not to what Darkness. I do not say that all such are Purposes your general Acknowledgments unconverted; but, if you continue thus, are, but to be a Mask cr Shadow to dewithout stirring up yourselves to a daily ceive you, to be a Blind to hide you from Conversion and Renovation, ye do too yourseves ; since the most part of you, much to blot out the Evidence of your whensoever challenged of any particular Conversion, and at length it may prove Sin, or Inclination to it, justify yourto fome a felf-destroying Deceit, when felves; and whenever ye are put to a they shall find themselves not past over particular Confession of your Sins, you that Line that passeth between Heaven and have all wrapt up in such a Bundle of Hell, which they were studying to find Confusion, that you never know one Sin out, only that they might pass so far over by another. Certainly, ye deceive your. it, as might keep their soul and Hell a felves, and the Truth is not in you. funder, without earneft Desires of Ad Let me add moreover another Instance ; vancement towards Heaven in Conformi- do you not so live, and walk in Sin fo ty to God. Now for the Generality of securely, fo impenitently, as if you had professed Chriftians, tho' there be none no Sin, no Fear of God's Warth? Do hath that general Confession of Sin ofoner not the most part contentedly and peaceand more readily in their Mouths; yet, ably live in so much Ignorance of the I suppose, it is easy to demonstrate that Gospel, as if they had no Need of Chrift? there is much of this Self-deceit in them, and so by Consequence, as if they had which declares that the Truth is not in no Sin : For if you did believe in the them. You know both God and Man Heart, and indeed consider, that your constructs of Men by their Ways, not Hearts are Sinks of Iniquity and Impuriby their Words ; and the Lord may in. iy, would you not think it necesary to terprete your Hearts by their Dispositi- apply to the Physician ? And would you ons, and raise a Colle&tion of Atheis not then labour to know the Physician, out of all together; the Fool barb said and the Gospel, which is the Report of in bis Heart, &c. Even fo say I, him ? Certainly, in asmuch as you cake many pretended Chriftians, say in their no Pains for the Knowledge of a SaviHeart, We have no Sin. How prove our, you declare that you know not your ye that? I seek nothing else to prove it, I Sin ; for if ye know the one, ye could
not but search to know the other. What, Would the Current of Repentance dry? is the Voice of most Mens walking? But, forasmuch as you are not exercised Doth-it not proclaim this, that they think this Way, give no Thoughts nor Time there is no Sin in them? For if there for Reconcilement with God, walk with: be Sin in you; is there not a Curse upon out any Fear of Hell, and without any you, and Wrath before you? And if you earnest and serious Study of changing did really see the one, would you not your Ways, and purifying your Hearts ; see the other? · And did you fee it, in a Word, though ye confess Sin in, the would it not drive you to more serious general,, yet your whole Carriage of Thoughts? Would it not afright you? Heart and Ways declare so much, that Would it not cause you often to retire you think it not a Thing much to be in to yourselves, and from the World? | feared, or that a Man Mould busie himAnd above all, how precious would che self about it ; that a Man may live in it, Tidings of a Saviour be, that now are and be well here, and hereafter. And common and contemptible? Would you is not this to deny the very Nature of not every Day wash in that Blood ? | Sin, and to deceive your own Souls?
1 John. i. 9. If we confess our Sins, he is faithful, and just
to forgive us our Sins, &c.
HE Current of Sin dries not up, , as clear and fresh as ever it did; And
Vertue, in this Life. It is true, it is much dimi- that it is able to swallow up the Stream nished in a Believer, and it runs nut in of our Pollutions, and to take away such an universal Flood over the whole the daily Filth of a Believer's ConverMan, as it is in the Unbeliever ; yet there fation. Now indeed, though the Blood is a living Spring of Sin within the God of Jesus Christ be of fuch infinite Vertue ly, which is never cealing to drop out and Efficacy, that it were . fufficient to Pollution and Defilement, either upon cleanfe the Sins of the whole world, it their whole Persons, or at least, to in- would be an Over-ranson for the Souls termingle it with their good Actions of all Men, there is so much Worth in Now, there is no Comfort for this, but it: That Flood of Guiltiness that hath this one, that there is another Stream of drowned the World, this Flood of Christ's ibe Blood of Jesus Christ, that never Blood that gulhed out of his side, is of dries up, is never exhausted, never fufficient Vertue to cleanse it perfectly empried, but flows as full and as free, away ; notwithftanding of this absolute
universal Sufficiency, yet certain it is, ment from the Blood of Chrift, as if they